In addition to napping like a champion and catching up on some Oscar-winning movies (ah hem The King's Speech and The Social Network), we observed the rest of the cabin, the other travelers in BusinessElite and how the service has been elevated along with the new seats. The crew kinda knew we were Jaunted and kinda didn't, but aside from stopping to take photos of everything, we experienced the flights just as you would.
Now, for the big perks we noted when you fly Delta BusinessElite:
· Flight Attendant Flattery: If you're sociable, the FAs will be as well. No terse replies here. On both flights, the BizElite cabin was filled with amiable crew that actually asked passengers, with interest, what they were watching (on the touchscreen seatback TVs), how was their trip and how well did they sleep. And, as anyone who's flown long-haul knows, passengers love to discuss how much they slept on the flight.
· Solo Seats: This is part of the new BizElite cabin configuration, and it's currently our favorite thing ever. We're not interested in smelling how long our seatmate has been in transit, or watching whatever they're watching with our peripheral vision, or hearing the full story of their moral dilemma because of a transatlantic affair (or maybe we are). Worst of all, when the seats are 2-2-2, is having to do the "straddle of shame" and climb over your sleeping neighbor to reach the aisle and the restroom. Delta solved all of these problems with direct aisle access for all seats, and a 1-2-1 layout, where half of the cabin is full of solo seats for your taking.
· Space for all your digital stuff: Each seat has a sidetable that's more than large enough to hold a laptop, DSLR camera, waterbottle (put the cap on tightly), the complimentary noise-canceling headphones and amenity kit. When you're typing away on your iPad on the tray table and it's dinner time, just slide everything over to the sidetable. The two mesh pockets we also found handy for quickly stashing our iPhone, Moleskine notebook and various chargers, which we had been taking turns plugging into the in-seat power supply outlet to juice everything up before landing.
· Real food: We'll detail the in-flight meal service tomorrow, but for now we want to focus on the setup. There's a tablecloth, real metal flatware wrapped in a real linen napkin, real china plates, real wine glasses (with stems!) and the cutest salt and pepper shaker you ever did see. Each course is delivered and cleared before the next, and paired wines come around in a nice little silver presentation basket.
· 180-degree, lie-flat seats with massage: At the touch of a single buttonthis buttonyou can go from sitting upright to chillaxing way back to enjoy a movie, to completely flat and tucked in for sleep. We're 5'7" and we probably had another foot of space, after stretching completely out. And yes, it is all-the-way flat. We've been in the almost-flat Business seats on other airlines before (not naming any names), and the difference is mighty.
Perhaps the coolest part of flying Businesswhich everyone should do at least twice in their lives (for comparison!)is that it's not crazy with everyone doing different things like back in economy. BusinessElite passengers are a somewhat synced group. Sure, you can eat and sleep and work whenever you want, but it becomes a more private thing up front. For the most part, there's a time when it's understood that everyone get their beauty rest, or get ahead on work, or enjoy an extra glass of wine. It's hard to explain, but you understand it when you're about to put on your sleep mask and you look around and everyone else has peacefully beat you to it.
Pro-Tip: Are you left- or right-handed? Think about checking to book one of the solo seats that puts the sidetable on your preferred hand side, so you may more easily grab your wine glasses or phone, or simply write. A seat odd numbers (like 7A) have the sidetable at right, while D seat odd numbers have it at left (like 9D).
Disclosure: We traveled to London courtesy of Delta to check this out, but rest assured that all opinions and photos are our own.